November 13, 2013 / 2013 Fall JEA/NSPA

Writing improves with journalism training for 50 Scholars student

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Cynthia Sillas is not interested in a career in journalism at this time, but the senior at Jordan High School in Los Angeles sure is glad she’s in the journalism program at her school.

“Well, our journalism teacher makes us write a lot – from newspaper articles (and) interviews to fliers, and the list goes on, but all this writing helped me improve my SAT writing scores by 40 points, which I’m really thrilled,” Sillas said.

She also said all of the writing will help her in college and her future career.

Sillas will be one of four students from Jordan High attending the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Boston this week, thanks in part to Walsworth’s 50 Scholars program. Walsworth is working with NSPA and JEA to pay the registration fees for 50 scholarship winners, and essays by the four earned them each a scholarship.

Rebecca Parshall, the journalism teacher at Jordan, says the program has a yearbook and an online newspaper, and her students write for both. She is working with her students to get a printed issue of the newspaper this year. Parshall said few students repeat the class, so the program is akin to an Introduction to Journalism course.

Sillas, yearbook co-editor-in-chief, said she enjoys working on the yearbook more because she loves the creative aspect of yearbook design. She is looking forward to learning more about journalism and returning to school to teach new skills to others. She’s also looking forward to new experiences in general – this will be the first time she has flown, and the farthest she’s ever been from home.

Parshall said the experience will be eye-opening for her students, many of whom don’t leave the inner-city neighborhood around the high school. She said it will be great for them to talk with other teens from across the country, and be exposed to how journalism programs work in other schools.

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.